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Watchdog That Didn’t Bark: The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism (Columbia Journalism Review Books) (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 20. Juni 2014


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The Watchdog That Didn't Bark, given its in-depth analysis across the landscape, steeped in history, and Starkman's keen understanding of the business of journalism, can stand as a potentially enduring case study of what went wrong and why. -- Alec Klein, director of the Medill Justice Project and award-winning investigative reporter formerly with the Washington Post Starkman is literally a reporter's reporter. As such, he gets to the bottom of the story of how the U.S. business press could miss the most important economic implosion of the past eighty years until it was too late, and he does so with prose that is intelligent, engaging, and erudite. I recommend The Watchdog without reservation. -- Eric Alterman, Brooklyn College, and media columnist, The Nation Here is the missing piece in the financial-crisis mystery: how did our vaunted business-journalism sector manage to miss the problem with mortgage-backed investments? The answer, as Dean Starkman shows us in this amazing autopsy, is that the business outweighs the journalism and that it is getting worse, not better, as we go forward. -- Thomas Frank, author of Pity the Billionaire: The Hard-Times Swindle and the Unlikely Comeback of the Right Journalism was complicit in the predation and corruption that brought down world financial markets and wrecked the lives of millions. Obsessed with shallow scoops, giddy from the laughing gas of access, financial journalists abjectly failed to connect dots, and left abusive, reckless, and criminal corporations free to drag the global economy into the abyss. Dean Starkman is the author we have been waiting for to tell this story. He not only puts forward a keen, subtle, and fair account of the journalistic default, he names names. -- Todd Gitlin, author of Media Unlimited: How the Torrent of Images and Sounds Overwhelms Our Lives With American journalism at sea, here comes a navigator who really knows its mission, the riptides it is facing, and the ports it must reach. Starkman tells it all with the heart, clarity, and dry wit that redeem business journalism even while showing how it lost its anchor and compass. -- Jim Sleeper, former editor and columnist at Newsday and the New York Daily News Journalists did not miss the subprime lending that spun into the devastating financial collapse of 2008. Excellent reporting was available, from the Financial Times to the Los Angeles Times to a small alternative publication, Southern Exposure. Yet Dean Starkman shows that even reporters who were on top of things buried the lead: the story was not new financial instruments, risky investments, or high-pressured Wall Street. The story was corruption. There were old-fashioned, greedy villains. Old-fashioned moralizing was called for. It would have had the advantage of being both true and fascinating. So how did so many fine journalists miss the big story? Read Starkman's powerful and disturbing analysis of how business journalism came to write for an audience of investors, not citizens. You may not share his every judgment, but this account has the advantage of being both true and fascinating. -- Michael Schudson, Columbia Journalism School, author of The Power of News As fair and balanced as a solar-plexus punch can be. Kirkus Reviews 11/15/2013 Starkman provides keen analysis of how the media failed in its mission at a crucial time for the U.S. economy. Booklist 12/15/2013 Compelling... Starkman offers an excellent and clear theoretical explanation for some of the problems with watchdog journalism generally. International Journal of Communication Vol 8, 2014 Detailed and fully satisfying... Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Books 8/21/14

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Dean Starkman is an editor and Kingsford Capital Fellow of the Columbia Journalism Review. A former reporter for the Wall Street Journal and other newspapers, he was part of an investigative team that won a Pulitzer Prize for the Providence Journal. He is working as a fellow for the Investigative Fund of the Nation Institute in New York and also holds a fellowship at the Center for Media and Communications at the Central European University, Budapest. He is also lead editor of The Best Business Writing anthology series and contributes to GoLocalProv.

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The Big Short Meets All the President's Men 7. Januar 2014
Von takingadayoff - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Where were the Woodward and Bernstein of the financial meltdown? Why did a crisis that was a decade or more in the making, not make the news until it was too late? Dean Starkman asks where the watchdogs were and why weren't they barking like crazy until after the crash.

There are no simple answers. In the first part of the book, Starkman looks at the last century of reporting. The first major investigative reporting, or muckraking, of the 20th century was in 1903 when Ida Tarbell broke the Standard Oil antitrust story. There were other stories between that and Watergate, and a few since then. But the reader gets the impression that these were exceptions in journalism and that the norm was the cozy relationship between JFK and the press, for instance, and the self-censorship that reporters employ during wartime and other times of perceived crisis.

Startkman points out that not all journalism has to be investigative to be good. There is accountabilty reporting, which is investigative reporting by another name, and access reporting, which is cultivating sources to get leads. Although that sounds like the opposite of reporting, Starkman points out that both types are vital. He points to a recent-ish example of access reporting getting the scoop -- when a friendly reporter asked presidential candidate John McCain how many houses he had and McCain couldn't remember, that was as revealing a tidbit as any undercover reporter searching for scandals could have dug up.

So, why no Tarbells and Woodwards on the financial beat in 2007? Starkman points out that there were reporters telling many parts of the crisis story, but that the changing nature of news media was partly to blame for keeping the reports to a dribble rather than gushing forth. The reaction of print media to the internet meant news staffs were being cut and the remaining reporters had to do twice as much work. Newspapers and magazines, both digital and print, felt the need to increase output of content, faster. More stories, shorter stories, quicker stories, and less time and money for long term projects resulting in long-form stories.

Starkman finds plenty of villains and heroes in financial crisis reporting, and he saves his most scathing comments for Rupert Murdoch, who bought the Wall Street Journal in 2007, and whose ideal newspaper is the (U.K.) Daily Mail, an entertaining (in small doses) paper that deals in gossip and sensationalistic stories that are completely fact-free.

The Watchdog That Didn't Bark gets into the financial weeds as well as the journalism details. You can't breeze through this book, but once you read it, you'll never read a newspaper the same way again.
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
What Was the Business Press Doing Before the Meltdown? 16. März 2014
Von Peter Richardson - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Dean Starkman's new book addresses the business press's failure to warn of the most catastrophic financial crisis in eighty years. His analysis leaves little doubt that beat reporters were focusing on the wrong things, responding to the wrong incentives, and writing the wrong kind of stories for their work to perform its watchdog role.

Starkman stages his analysis deliberately. Almost half the book is a history of American business reporting and capsule biographies of its most notable practitioners, including Charles Dow, Edward Jones, Clarence Barron, and B.C. Forbes. Starkman also traces the history of investigative reporting, giving pride of place to Ida Tarbell's muckraking stories on Standard Oil during the Progressive Era.

Along the way, Starkman introduces a distinction between what he calls access and accountability journalism. Access reporting, which is relatively quick and easy to produce, focuses on business stories that help investors reach their financial goals. Orthodox in its assumptions about markets, it relies heavily on scoops from major players and tends to portray them positively. Accountability reporting, in contrast, may target those movers and shakers in an effort to expose mischief. Its audience isn't investors but the public at large, and its sources are more likely to be disgruntled employees, customers, or competitors. Accountability reporting is slow, expensive, and risky. It often embarrasses important people and makes continued access to them difficult. Occasionally, it creates legal challenges for the news organizations that produce it. For all these reasons, accountability journalism is easy to cut or forego, but it's the only kind of reporting that could have prevented the mischief and negligence that cratered the global economy.

Starkman argues that both kinds of journalism are necessary, but only one is in danger of extinction. The business world will always have its access reporting, which targets a motivated audience and is profitable to produce. But far from exposing faulty lending practices and unregulated derivatives trading, that reporting effectively masked those problems with its business-as-usual approach.

Starkman has made an important contribution to our understanding of America's media ecology. There's more work to do, starting with the journalists themselves. Felix Salmon, a financial blogger at Reuters, has defended the business press's failure to warn the public of the financial meltdown. "If you want public-interest journalism, if you want to interest the public, you don't want to put it in the business section," Salmon said. "The business section is the first section that they throw away." Perhaps Salmon is right that the business press should remain a watchdog-free zone. If so, Dean Starkman's work can be safely ignored.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
illuminating 13. Juli 2014
Von Joshua Brown - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
Dean Starkman's book is the only primer most people need on the origins of the financial media and a great explainer of its failure to check The Street's post-millennial excesses before it became too late. Everyone who has an interest in the intersection of Wall Street and Main Street, finance and society, truth-telling and power should buy this book. Bravo.
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Great Insight Into the Press Coverage of Wall Street 2. April 2014
Von Christine S. Richard - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
The Watchdog That Didn't Bark gives readers a sweeping history of how financial journalists have covered (or not covered) everything from the rise of Standard Oil to the tottering housing and derivatives markets that led to the 2008 financial crisis. Ultimately, this engaging book is an examination of a singular issue -- the tension between so-called "access" journalism and "accountability" or investigative reporting. It's an important topic and one that Starkman is in a unique position to analyze as a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who went on to write about financial journalism for the Columbia Journalism Review. If Starkman hadn't written this book, it's hard to believe anyone else would have tackled the topic; critiquing your peers and your profession may be the ultimate in "accountability" reporting. Highly recommended for anyone who wants to understand what drives the press coverage of Wall Street.
Highly readable, points made apply to every aspect of news not just business 6. Dezember 2014
Von Scott Whitmore - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
The Watchdog That Didn't Bark: The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism
by Dean Starkman (@deanstarkman) will appeal greatly to anyone interested in journalism, especially in how the field has dramatically changed the past few decades.

The entry point for this highly readable book is the Mortgage Crisis of the mid- to late-2000s, and in particular trying to answer those critics who wondered why the “business news media” didn’t foresee and warn the public about the looming catastrophe. In fact, a few individuals and organizations did see the danger, or at least some part of it — few but those on the inside (and therefore actually doing the harm) fully understood what was happening — but their voices were lost among the ever-increasing noise of information bombarding our lives in the Internet Age.

The author examines the history of journalists and social crusaders digging into the affairs of businesses, starting with the “Muckrakers” of the late 1900s who took on the insidious corporate Trusts. This type of work, which Starkman calls “Accountability Journalism” sought to bring to light issues of concern to the general public, which were often terribly complex and deliberately masked or difficult to unearth, and present them in ways an average person could comprehend. Accountability journalism is expensive and time-consuming, and it is entirely possible once-promising ideas will be found unusable after months of research.

Although not exactly the opposite per se, the other major type of newsgathering the author discusses is “Access Journalism.” In Access mode, a sort of symbiotic relationship develops between journalists and their subjects. Through press releases and “exclusives” granted to compliant journalists, subjects seek to steer the flow of information in a way favorable to them. The benefit for a journalist or news organization is that Access Journalism is cheap to produce and provides a steady stream of content — highly desirable qualities in the Internet Age.

Both types of journalism can co-exist at a news organization but obviously it takes a commitment of resources to work in Accountability mode, resources the industry found itself lacking when the Internet wiped out the once steady influx from advertising. The negative to relying too heavily on Access, of course, is the news media — the titular Watchdog — stops looking for misdeeds and instead feasts on the scraps provided. And although business news is the subject of this book, in truth what is discussed applies to every aspect of a news organization including sports.
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